Monday, March 11, 2013

a tiny rant on home ownership

I'm quite certain the best time to make a judgment call on home ownership is after you've spent a good hour clearing the drive way of wet, heavy snow for the umpteenth time this winter and it's MARCH 11th.

Hold on friends, I'm about to go on a rant.

When we prepared for our move to Minnesota we decided to consider buying a home.  I was ELATED.  It took a little convincing to get Chris excited and in fact, I'm still convincing the man that owning a home is worth it.

You know I love me some HGTV and I couldn't wait to make a home my own after several years in college living in rental spaces.  I could paint the walls, hang a bunch of crap everywhere, make cosmetic changes to my space to reflect my personality and style.  In a former life I'd thought I wanted to be an interior designer.  Then I took Art 101 and realized I had no skill at drawing, proportion, blah, blah.  I also realized a lot of design has to do with building codes, proportion, math and wasn't just pairing cute swatches of fabric and flinging some paint around.  So I switched to Communications.  Then to Education.  And now I'm a photographer.  Yes, I'm very good at making commitments and decisions apparently.  But enough history about my inability to stick with any one thing.

Buying a house is crazy.  It's stressful.  It's a gamble.  Chris hated that we couldn't guarantee that we'll be able to sell it in five years and that the walls wouldn't collapse in on us while we owned the home.  I couldn't think about any of the risk because I was already considering what Ikea purchased would look nice in the downstairs living room.

Obviously we did decide to buy the house.  I'll let you know in two years when its time to sell if it was really worth it but over time I'm seeing owning is not all it's cracked up to be.

1. ALL that snow.  There is a ton of snow.  We have a snow blower.  It intimidates me and I have yet to successfully do all the right steps to get it running.  You have to plug the dang thing in, jiggle the bunny rabbit key, blow in this hole, pull a string and jump up and down three times and it's suppose to start or something like that.  But even if I could get it rolling, I have awful visions of loosing limbs in that snow grinder.  So I shovel.  It takes longer and my children are stuck inside watching Yo Gabba Gabba losing brain cells with every second.  To have a snow removal service come and make it all disappear would be so awesome.  BUT I OWN THIS PLACE.  And when it's not snow, its a lawn to maintain.  I do a majority of the snow removal and lawn mowing due to Chris' schedule.  Have you ever seen a nine months pregnant woman mowing her lawn?  It's awful.

2. Stuff breaks.  For example, the other day our sump pump was unable to successfully pump water away from our foundation so I was met with an icy cold surprise when I went to take Ben's pooped on PJs to the washer.  Thank goodness for his blowout, otherwise the tiny flood could have been a massive one and we would be stuck with the bill since homeowners' insurance doesn't cover floods.  Um, thanks home owners insurance, what good are you?  So now our carpet's drying out, the concrete floor is exposed and tetanus laden nails are poking up waiting for small children to step on them.  So rather than picking up glitter bunnies from the dollar section of Target to celebrate the risen Lord, I'll be spending my hard earned money on things like a wet vacuum and new carpet padding.  Happy Easter to all.

3. I never thought about things like sump pumps and foundations before owning a home.  If the dishwasher made a weird noise I called maintenance.  I enjoyed the beautiful landscape of our old apartment complex without a true appreciation of the labor and time that went in to maintaining the grounds.  I swam in our lovely apartment pool and enjoyed a community gym, not once thinking about the luxury and liability of either. To be ignorant again.  Sigh.

4.  You have to sell the place.  I would say that we are always thinking about how a certain decision will affect the sellability of our home.  (Wouldn't our realtor be proud?)  We chat about the things we'll have to do to a place before we sell it and it's kind of sad that we'll never enjoy these particular upgrades.  For example, my children have just trashed our carpet over time.  It looks like several food bombs went off all over the floor.  I walk past stains in the nursery and can remember fond memories or projectile poop and spit up.  I see the place where my coffee cup was lovingly knocked over by someone who shall remain nameless when she was bouncing through the living room.  That same nameless individual is responsible for nail polish on the bathroom floor and other various blemishes in our home.  Since our children will probably continue to leave their mark on this house, we have to wait until the very last minute for certain upgrades so they don't have a chance to leave their chocolate stained fingerprints all over them.

So when I was wet vacuuming the icy water from my bare basement floor at 2 am Saturday I thought to myself, you know, renting wouldn't have been bad.  Let this be a warning to all who are considering home ownership.  It's no walk in the park.

Disclaimer:  I am thankful for the roof over our heads.  The two car garage I park in.  The yard my kids play in.  The beauty that surrounds me.  I just needed a moment to grouch about having too much.  Thanks.  Waaah.

 Before the wet vac made its appearance I used a mop to clean up 5 buckets of water in the laundry room.  Points for persistence?
 Marshland indoors.
Angry on call resident at 2 am sucking up water in between pages from the ER.


  1. That stinks, Sara! There is a creek that runs behind my parents house, and their basement has flooded a couple of time over the years. It is definitely a pain.

    Also, I hear ya about not being able to enjoy upgrades. We are in the same situation, but the two responsible for our mess can be named, DUKE & DAISY! Love them, but pet ownership is as much work as home ownership or parenthood. It is do we ever make it through the day! :)

  2. I so appreciate this post. I've been known to say things like, "I'd cut a --- to paint a wall right now." And I completely relate to your desire to make a space on this planet 'yours'. Everyone keeps reminding me of how lovely maintenance men are and the ability to place a phone call when something goes wrong without any added time or expense coming out of your pocket. So although I hate that you are having to deal with so many home ownership unpleasantries, I do appreciate the sage advice.